Sunday, August 18, 2013

PR: more stable government than FPP

The corporate media and business community offer many stern warnings against the dangers of PR voting reform — despite the fact that 85% of developed countries use the system.

Among them is the claim it will lead to short-lived governments paralyzed by conflict. They say we should stick with our existing system FPP, which provides “strong, stable government.” According to the Toronto Star:

“The best argument in favour of [FPP] is that it leads to strong governments. By contrast, proportional representation is a recipe for unstable coalitions, permanent minority government and legislative chaos.”

How true is this claim?

And the winner is…

Let’s compare Canada’s post-war government stability under FPP to that of Western European nations that use “chaotic” PR:

At 3.1 years ranking 11 of 12, Canada is clearly no paragon of government stability under “strong, stable” FPP.

Why FPP is less stable

Andrew Coyne points out why FPP is actually less stable than PR:

“We think of minority governments as unstable because, in our present winner-take-all system, they are: the payoff from [a] two per cent swing [vote] is such that every party has its finger poised over the election button, ready to press it the minute they get a pop in the polls.
“But take away the leverage—let a two per cent swing in the popular vote mean a two per cent change in seats—and everyone is forced to calm down. Politics becomes more incremental, a matter of long-term persuasion, rather than short-term gambles.”

The real reason FPP is promoted

The reason the business community promotes FPP is because it’s easier for them to influence government under single-party “benign dictatorships.” If we use a democratic voting system that produces multi-party majority governments — reflecting the true will of the people — their corrupt advantage disappears.

No doubt the foxes will howl in indignation if their position guarding the chicken coop comes under threat. But Canadians must ignore their self-serving snarls and focus on the facts.

The choice is ours

We can choose democracy or the status quo, plutocracy. If we choose the first, voting reform is the only way forward. Either PR or PV ranked ballot will bring real democracy to Canada.

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